Govt mulls abolishing unnecessary withholding taxes: Asad Umar

Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Tuesday that the government was planning to abolish unnecessary withholding taxes, a local media outlet reported.

Addressing a ceremony in Islamabad, Asad Umar underscored the need for reforms in property businesses, saying that the current tax system could not detect transactions and profits in property businesses.

The finance minister said that the issue of under-invoicing could be resolved through information technology. He said that import from China and Dubai could be checked through the use of IT services.

Asad Umar said that the treasury had foreign reserves of only $1 billion while the monthly current account deficit was $2 billion. He said that the government has to take tough decisions to address the crippling economic situation.

The minister said that strict action against the corrupt elements was in the country’s interest. He said that the best platform to formulate a ‘charter of economy’ was the Senate and the National Assembly.

Earlier, Finance Minister Asad Umar on January 23 had presented the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s third finance bill, which was also the second supplementary budget, in the National Assembly.

Speaking on the occasion, Asad Umar had said that it was not a budget, but a package for economic reforms.

“The government wants a resolution to economic woes of the country,” he had said, adding that the government didn’t want the next governments to complain about previous government’s wrongdoings.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan’s consumer price inflation rose to 9.4pc in March; the country’s highest since November 2013. Meanwhile, the government jacked up the prices of petroleum products by up to Rs6 for the month of May.

Pakistan, currently facing an acute economic crisis, has also been seeking a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). After initial “fruitless” negotiations, it has been leant that talks with IMF have now entered the final stage after the settlement of almost all the issues related to the signing of an agreement.

“We are very close to each other and there is no fundamental difference,” the finance minister had said on Monday while talking to media after launching the State Bank of Pakistan’s Electronic Money Institutions (EMI) Regulations.

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